With Euro 2016 starting this week, Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust is encouraging men to be on the ball about their mates’ mental health.
This week is also Men’s Health Awareness Week, with a theme this year of stress, so we are asking people to check if their friends are off their game.
Every year, one in four people will experience a mental health issue. Men don’t always like to talk about their mental health, including stress, but as they get together with their friends to watch the games, we’d like to encourage them to also take the time to ask each other how things are going.
Elaine Davies, a Clinical Team Lead from Gloucestershire Health and Care’s Let’s talk service, said: “In our experience, we have found that men are often embarrassed to talk about their mental health, fearing that it could be perceived as a sign of weakness or that their mates might laugh at them.
“We want to encourage men to look at their own mental health but also to look at their friends and ask them how they are feeling. Be aware of the warning signs and, if you’re concerned, take steps to help and support them.”
Some warning signs that everything may not be okay with your mate include:
- He’s tired or having problems sleeping
- He thinks people are trying to harm him or are laughing at him
- He’s losing interest in work, sex, eating, football, or something else that he normally enjoys
- He’s self-harming or showing signs of addiction
- Showing extremes of behaviour, such as too much energy or not enough energy, wanting to go out more or wanting to be alone more often.
If you’re worried about one of your friends, ask him “how’s it going?” Give him the opportunity to talk to you and listen when he does. Take the time to do things with him and make sure he knows you are there for him.
If you are concerned about yourself or a mate, the following resources can provide help and support:
- Let’s Talk is a free NHS service offering information, guidance and therapy during times when people feel stressed, anxious or depressed: https://www.talk2gether.nhs.uk/
- Time to Change is a national organisation which aims to reduce the stigma around mental health. Visit www.time-to-change.org.uk
- The Men’s Health Forum has plenty of information and advice at menshealthforum.org.uk/howRU
The Samaritans provide round-the-clock support. Visit their website at www.samaritans.org or call them on 116123.